Sibley wins All-Star Community Award for aquatic center

Sibley Outdoor Aquatic Center
Sibley Outdoor Aquatic Center on a hot and humid Saturday afternoon. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

SIBLEY, Iowa — Sibley is a 2020 recipient of one of three All-Star Community Awards given each year by the Iowa League of Cities.

The All-Star Community Award honors local governments for their commitment and innovation. One award is given annually for each population category less than 3,000 (where Sibley falls), 3,000-9,999 and more than 10,000.

A panel of judges makes its decision based on each project’s impact on the community, originality, cost-effectiveness, use of governmental collaboration and innovation.

The Sibley aquatic center, located at 800 11th Ave., is wrapping up its second season of operation. Renovation of the old pool took place over the 2018 season, and the new facility opened last summer with features including a lily pad walkway, floating log roll, rock climbing wall, diving stand, slide, water therapy seat, designated lap lanes, a volleyball net and basketball hoop. Separate from the pool area, the aquatic center also includes a splash pad.

The project totaled about $2.1 million, $1.6 million of which was financed through bonds, and the remaining $500,000 was fundraised.


"It's well loved by our community," Sibley Parks and Recreation Director Sara Berndgen said.

Over the past two summers, Berndgen guessed the aquatic center has welcomed an average of about 175 people every day, including folks from other communities.

The aquatic center is also a source of summer jobs, requiring 10 to 12 employees on a daily basis to manage operations.

"We take pride in it," Berndgen said of the facility.

All-Star Community Award recipients are honored each year at the Iowa League of Cities Annual Conference & Exhibit, which is hosted in Des Moines. The event is going virtual this year, and Sibley will be recognized during the proceedings Sep. 16-18. The city will also receive a star-shaped award to display at City Hall.

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